Colonization is when a country inhabits another with the intentions of; using it as its sphere of influence; obtaining land and resources and getting cheap labour from it. Decolonisation would then be – the undoing of colonization. Meaning, granting independence to the colony, giving back the land and possibly paying reparations for all the exploited resources and also putting to a halt the influence the mother country has on its colony.

For many years SA was a colony of the British. Between 1910 and 1960 Britain gave up its direct rule over SA. Be that as it may, this period was not a period of decolonisation. The period between 1910 and 1960 was merely the removal of direct rule over SA but to date (although not directly) the mother country still pursues its colonial intentions.

A mother country colonizes a state with the intentions of using it as its sphere of influence. Britain, for the duration of its stay in SA influenced, among myriad other things, the country’s legal system. Owing to colonization, SA uses a hybrid law system, meaning it acknowledges some customary laws and the British law.

It goes without saying that the sustained acknowledgment of the British law ensures that SA is still influenced by Britain even after the mother country has given up direct rule. It is only until SA puts a halt to the influence that the country can declare itself decolonised; until this is done SA is still a colony.

Adding to that, colonization took place so that the mother country could obtain land and loot resources from its colony. Britain, during its rule in SA, remained true to its nature as a colony and made it its mission to obtain land and extort natural resources from SA. One particular event that attests to this statement is the Anglo-Boer War in the 1800s.

During this time Britain fought for and won the Transvaal, an area that was then popular for its platinum. Post 1960 the mother country did not return the land to its original owners, instead of left it to be inherited by its descendants who remained in SA. With all that said, it is evident that the British are still achieving the goal of owning land and obtaining natural resources thus proving that SA remains a colony.

Moreover, it is true that formal rule has stopped but Britain is still obtaining cheap labour from the country thus making SA a colony. Lonmin Mines is a British platinum producing mine that operates in SA. On August 10th, 2012 miners demanding that they are paid a living wage were shot dead in Marikana. The company’s tenacious hold on not paying miners a living wage proves that British Companies/Britain is still in pursuit of its colonial mission, therefore SA is still not decolonised.

It is true that between 1910 and 1960 Britain gave up direct rule. However, it is false to perceive giving up the direct rule as decolonisation. This is because colonization was not in its entirety about the direct rule. It had other motives that it wanted to achieve and is still achieving to date. So until the land is returned, influence is put to a halt and reparations have been paid for looted resources – SA might as well consider itself a colony.


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